Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mourning Doves

Right outside our “dining room” window (dining room being in parenthesis due to the fact that it is just the tiny end of our kitchen where the table and chairs can just squeeze in) is a small variety of Golden Rain Tree.  In early April, before tree leaves began to make their appearances, a pair of Mourning Doves would fly in every evening just before dark while we were eating supper.  They always sat together.  When one flew the other did too, with the whirring fluttering sound coming from their wings.
 One day I took note that one of the pair had hopped down into the Ivy which has grown up the tree trunk and into the area where multiple branches splay out, forming a secure crotch.  I was hoping the bird was thinking what I was thinking.  This would be a good nesting spot.  Mostly because it was only about five feet off the ground and very visible from my chair at the table!
 Well, we were thinking alike.  The very next morning my girls and I got to watch the construction project.  I was fascinated and sat on the table trying to take pictures through the window. The male would hop around under the bushes in the front yard being very discriminating with his choice of sticks.  I’m not sure what made one better than the other, but it was regularly about every five minutes that he would finally fly back to the nest where his lady was waiting to take and add the next twig.  Maybe if he took his time the lady was more convinced that this was choice building material?  The nest building was finished in one day.  It was not a beautiful nest (like some of these are), but certainly more solid than most Mourning Dove’s nest that I’ve seen.
 Then there were two small perfectly white eggs.  And they sat, taking turns.  The nest was never left uncovered – one of the parents was there at all times.  I literally touched the bird to get it to move so I could snap a picture of the eggs!

We knew the babies had hatched when we saw the adults flying back and forth more than normal.  One parent would fly in, hop down the branch to the nest, and the other would come up out of the Ivy and flutter away.  Even when the young ones were getting older, one of the parents would stay at the nest with them.  It wasn’t until they were almost ready to fledge that the parents would leave the scruffy looking juveniles at times.

Maybe it’s strange, but it did my soul good to watch this pair of docile birds with their modest markings and smooth feathers.  I can see why doves are associated with love and peace.  To be able to watch their loyalty and affection for each other was a gift.

I’m assuming the pair has another nest somewhere around.  They still chuckle and whir away when we startle them if they’re sitting around in the yard.  And in the morning and evenings especially I hear the soft low call, “Coo-OO, cooo,coo-coo” in the trees.

"Then he [Noah] sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground.
But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth;
 so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to
 himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark.
When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf!
Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days
and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him." 
Genesis 8:8-12

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